The Wire creator hits out at 'submoronic' Baltimore Bridge conspiracy theories

The Wire creator hits out at 'submoronic' Baltimore Bridge conspiracy theories
Radio call from Baltimore Key Bridge collapse: 'The whole bridge just fell …
Fox - Fox 29 / VideoElephant

Wherever there’s shock and tragedy you can be sure the conspiracy theorists will pounce.

It should come as no surprise, therefore, that the right wing’s favourite motley crue has already seized on Baltimore’s devastating bridge collapse.

Alex Jones, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Andrew Tate are among the big names to seize on the tragedy, which saw a huge container ship ram into the Francis Scott Key Bridge in the early hours of Tuesday.

The sprawling structure buckled in seconds, sending cars and people plunging into the icy waters of the harbour and leaving six construction workers presumed dead.

The cause of the crash has been put down to the Singapore-flagged Dali container ship losing power.

However, what exactly caused this devastating power cut remains subject to investigation.

The bridge buckled in seconds after being hit by the Dali container ship(Reuters)

Of course, this hasn’t stopped the likes of Tate from drawing his own conclusions. He suggested that the collision was the result of a cyber attack carried out by “foreign agents.”

Tweeting to his nine million X/Twitter followers, he wrote: “This ship was cyber-attacked.

“Lights go off and it deliberately steers towards the bridge supports. Foreign agents of the USA attack digital infrastructures.

“Nothing is safe. Black Swan event imminent.”

(According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, a so-called “black swan event” is a “high-impact event that is difficult to predict under normal circumstances but that in retrospect appears to have been inevitable”.)

A short while later, that famous fountain of truth and knowledge, Infowars founder Jones, shared Tate’s assessment.

Retweeting the post, he added: “Looks deliberate to me. A cyber-attack is probable. WW3 has already started..”

Meanwhile, Taylor-Greene offered a similar analysis. She tweeted: “There should be a serious investigation into the horrifying tragedy of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Maryland. Is this an intentional attack or an accident?”

Her scepticism was met with fury by David Simon, whose drama The Wire was set in Baltimore and often featured the iconic landmark.

He responded by asking the Republican congresswoman whether she was "intentional or just an accident," before branding her a " complete submoronic pratfall of a human being."

In subsequent X/Twitter responses, he did his utmost to poor water on the theories, writing to one fellow user: "Film and radio transmissions already extant indicate a power failure on the vessel and the crew sent a mayday warning they had no steering, no one has claimed a terror act, and authorities say no evidence of such."

Elsewhere, political commentator Brian Krassenstein stressed the same point, writing: “To the irresponsible people on social media trying to claim that the Bridge collapse in Baltimore Harbor this morning was a ‘terrorist attack’ or some sort of inside government job, Maryland's Governor just said that the ship's mayday call enabled officials to limit traffic on Baltimore, MD's Key Bridge before the crash that caused the collapse.

“Terrorists don't typically try and prevent deaths. The FBI has also confirmed that there is no evidence of a terrorist attack.

“Stop pushing misinformation and conspiracy theories to get clicks as people are still missing.”

And yet despite their and others' attempts to quel the mayhem, conspiracy gluttons have continued to pin the tragedy on everything from Islamic State to Israel, with some linking the incident to the US’s abstention in a UN Security Council vote calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

One account asked: “Did Israel just hit the US over not using the Veto power yesterday??” in a tweet that racked up more than 2,200 likes.

So what actually happened?

Shortly after 1am ET on Tuesday, the Dali container ship was sailing down the Patapsco River on its way to Sri Lanka.

At 1.24am, it suffered a total power failure and all its lights went out.

Three minutes later, at 1.27 am, the container ship struck a pylon of the bridge, crumpling almost the entire structure into the water.

The 289 metre (948-foot) ship had reported a loss of propulsion shortly before impact and dropped anchor to slow the vessel down.

This gave transport authorities time to halt traffic on the bridge before the crash – a move that likely prevented a higher death toll, authorities said.

Maryland Governor Wes Moore said at a Tuesday news briefing that the bridge was up to code with no known structural issues, but also stressed there was no evidence of foul play.

He told reporters: “We are still investigating what happened, but we are quickly gathering details. The preliminary investigation points to an accident. We haven’t seen any credible evidence of a terrorist attack.

He added: “Our administration is working closely with leaders from all levels of government and society to respond to this crisis.”

At the same press conference, FBI Special Agent Bill DelBagno, who is in charge of the Baltimore Field Office, also emphasised that there was “no specific or credible information to suggest that there are ties to terrorism in this incident.”

Elswehere, it was reported that contaminated fuel may have played a part in the ship’s loss of power.

The Dali remains stuck by what remains of the bridge and is yet to be examined by safety experts, The Timesreports.

However, one early line of inquiry is focused on whether the engines cut out because of substandard fuel, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited unnamed officials.

Inevitably, people have also turned towards the vessel’s safety record and discovered that the same ship was involved in an incident in the port of Antwerp, Belgium, in 2016, hitting a quay as it tried to exit the North Sea container terminal.

An inspection in 2023 carried out in Chile found "propulsion and auxiliary machinery" deficiencies, according to data on the public Equasis website, which provides information on ships.

But Singapore's Maritime and Port Authority said in a statement that the vessel passed two separate foreign-port inspections in June and September 2023, adding that a faulty fuel pressure gauge was rectified before the vessel departed the port following its June 2023 inspection.

President Biden also stressed that the disaster appeared to have been the result of a tragic accident(Reuters)

Video footage on social media showed the vessel slamming into the Key Bridge in darkness, the headlights of vehicles visible on the span as it crashed into the water and the ship caught fire.

All 22 crew members on the ship, owned by Grace Ocean Pte Ltd, were accounted for, its management company, Synergy Marine Pte Ltd, reported.

US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said closure of the port would have a "major and protracted impact to supply chains,” given that it handles more automobile freight than any other US port.

Still, economists and logistics experts said they doubted the port closure would unleash a major US supply chain crisis or major spike in the price of goods, due to ample capacity at rival shipping hubs along the Eastern Seaboard.

President Joe Biden promised on Tuesday to visit Baltimore, 40 miles (64 km) away, as soon as possible and said he wanted the federal government to pay to rebuild the bridge.

He also insisted: “Everything so far indicates this was a terrible accident.”

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